Friday, July 21, 2006

Thrifting in the UK

Thrifting and crafting seem to go hand in hand, these are some of my favorite places to get a bargain:

Charity Shops - Although far more expensive than they used to be (daytime antique/ bargain TV shows have a lot to answer for!) you can still unearth some real treasures..
As a rule of thumb, the smellier the better! Back in the day, charity shops never seemed to worry too much about washing or ironing the stuff before they put it out and now many seem to have realised that the better presented the shop, the greater price they can command - great for the charity, not so great for the thrifter - so, in my experience, the more disorganised the shop is the more chance of a bargain.

GOLDEN RULE WHEN CHARITY SHOPPING - never haggle, they have set prices and besides all the money goes to charity so you're just being tight!

Jumble/Car-Boot sales
A proper jumble sale is, indeed, a mighty thing to behold! What you need to find is a village hall out in the sticks, raising money for a new church roof or village bench etc, you'll know it's good if there is an army of large old women jostling for first place at the door before it's even opened and once you get inside there should be trestle tables piled high with clothing that hasn't seen light of day since 1982. Make sure you're there early and once you have a space infront of the jumble - don't move! Hold tight onto anything that takes your fancy, regardless of sizing (You won't pay more than 20p for it,so it's worth the risk)instead look out for funky fabrics, retro t-shirts and bags, old costume jewellery and vintage curtains bedsheets.

GOLDEN RULE OF JUMBLE SALES - Never, ever put down your jacket, bag, scarf.. It won't be there when you next look!

Car-booting again has been scarred by daytime TV, avoid the one's that are advertised every week as they tend to be stuffed with dealers, instead lookout for the small locally organised ones, on the school playing field etc where you're much more likely to have genuine people clearing out their attics. Good things you often find are, old records, 70's lamp bases, pottery and glass, dress-making/ knitting patterns.

GOLDEN RULE OF CAR-BOOTING - ALWAYS haggle! just because you can afford £1, dosent mean you shouldn't offer 50p , a good tip is to keep a 20 pound note in your pocket along with the change you'd be willing to pay then ask if they can break the 20 cos youv'e only got x amount in change.

The Tip
This is one of my favorite places to get stuff from.
The key with buying from a tip is to only go to the posh bits of town - the one I go to is in the middle of the country sandwiched between some posh villages these are where you'll find the good stuff, and also, to make friends with the people who work there - a few months ago I was in a tip where there was a whole 1950's kitchen in immaculate condition ( just like a sindy one ) and the owner told me that he puts them aside for an American buyer who comes by every few months buys this type of stuff at an incredible price then ships it home and sells it at an even higher one, so if you make friends with the people who work there and you become a regular they'll probably put crafty stuff aside for you.Also don't go on a Friday cos they bin loads of the stuff they have for sale in readiness for the w/end Mon pm is probably the best time.
Good things to get from your local tip are: paint - you never need to buy paint from B&Q again if you keep your eye out, often you can get it in mad colours cos people have impulse brought but there's always good old white which you can adapt with a bit of careful colour mixing, Furniture - if you fancy your hand at furniture restoration this is the place to go, I seem to collect laundrey boxes, they're really easy to make over with a bit of paint, some nice fabric, foam and a staple gun, Outside toys for kids - not strictly crafty but this summer I've brought a Little Tykes car and slide, a tricyle and a bmx, less than £5 for all four.

Other ways to thrift:
Swap parties

Happy Hunting!



Blogger ..:.lucy.:.. said...

good tips thrifty Sally! x

10:12 am  
Blogger Zoë said...

Great tips...I had a great find recently in a charity shop...3 hanks of 100% wool yarn for 40p! Bargain!

11:43 am  
Blogger vinny said...

brilliant article! i didnt realise you had to pay for stuff from the tip? i thought you could just take what you needed, but my partner tried to take an old battered dining chair and the guy there shouted at him that it was illegal to take anything!

11:56 am  
Blogger Samsara said...

Scallyb, I'm already a tip scourer! You can find some great bargains! I've had some wonderful little bedside cabinet things for storing craft stuff and CDs in!

2:13 pm  
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